The Luftwaffe attacks the
British Fleets anchorage at Scapa Flow in the Orkney Islands.
This raid causes the death of a British civilian, the first
of the war.
The RAF retaliates against the Luftwaffe’s
bombing of Scapa Flow, by attacking the German seaplane base
at Hornum on the island of Sylt with 50 bombers. Later photo
reconnaissance reveals little damage to the target.
Dutch fighters shoots down a British
bomber near Rotterdam by mistake, killing one flier.
RAF launch attacks against ships at
RAF raid Stavanger airfield
on Norway’s west coast.
RAF attack Oslo airfield.
German mine-carrying bomber
crashes on Clacton, Essex; two civilians and four Germans killed,
156 people injured.
60 Luftwaffe He-111 bombers not having
received the countermanding order attack besieged Rotterdam,
devastating the centre of the city. British and French aircraft
are unsuccessful in destroying the German-built bridges across
the Meuse and 50 bombers are shot down by AA fire.
RAF Bomber Command (Peirse) begins
a strategic air offensive against targets inside Germany by
attacking industrial installations in the Ruhr, but with minimal
Biggest RAF attack on Germany to date
as the oil tanks at Bremen and Hamburg are blown up. British
claim 1,000 German aircraft lost in a single week.
Luftwaffe bomb Channel ports and the
RAF attack Rotterdam's refineries.
British cipher experts at Bletchley
Park break the Luftwaffe Enigma code.
The first British civilian bomb casualties
Luftwaffe raids industrial
centres in the Rhone Valley from Lyons to Marseilles
300 German planes bomb Paris inflicting
around 900 casualties.
French planes attack Munich and Frankfurt
as reprisals for Paris bombing.
Hauptmann. Mölders, leader of
III/JG 53 and Germany's top air ace (25 kills) is shot down
near Compiegne and taken prisoner.
Air raids along many parts of East
Coast of England.
French bomb Berlin.
Paris prepares for siege as the Luftwaffe
pounds the city. The RAF attacks Turin and Genoa with 36 Whitley
Italian bombers attack the French naval
base at Toulon.
German planes raid Thames Estuary
and East Coast.
More than 100 German bombers make
raids over Britain.
The RAF bomb Rouen airfield.
First early morning air-raid alarm
is heard in London.
German aircraft bomb Jersey.
The RAF carries out night
raids on Kiel and Wilhelmshaven.
RAF begins night bombing of Germany.
Preliminary phase of Battle of Britain
begins with German air attacks on Channel convoys with the
aim of tempting the RAF in to battle. The Luftwaffe launches
its first large scale attack on Britain as 70 aircraft attack
the dock facilities at Swansea and the Royal Ordnance Factory
at Pembrey in Wales.
Lord Beaverbrook, Minister for Aircraft
Production, says ‘the sky is the limit’ for plane
purchases from US, with spending running at £2.5 million
per day on aircraft.
The Luftwaffe carries out raids on
Aberdeen in Scotland and Cardiff in Wales.
British claim 40 Luftwaffe planes
down in a week; British civilian casualty figures for last
month announced: 336 killed, 476 seriously injured.
British claim 25 German planes downed
in a day, the highest total so far.
80 German planes attack Dover harbour;
British claim 17 down; Air Ministry accuses Germans of using
Red Cross planes for reconnaissance. Britain says 248 German
planes shot down since the 18th June.
The Luftwaffe ceases major raids over
Britain as it builds up strength for it forth coming onslaught.
RAF bomb the Krupp works
Goering sets the 10th August 1940
as 'Eagle day', the start of the Luftwaffe major offensive
against the RAF and its Airfields.
The Luftwaffe renews its attacks against
Channel convoys and its escorts, with heavy air battles occurring
over the Channel. The Germans lose 31 aircraft against the
RAF's 16. The Home Secretary announces July civilian air raid
casualty figures as 258 killed and 320 seriously injured.
Due to poor weather conditions, the
Luftwaffe delays 'Eagle Day' until the 13th.
The Battle of Britain begins in earnest
with 400 German planes attacking channel convoys and the coastal
areas of Britain including Dover, Weymouth and Portland. The
British claim 65 Luftwaffe planes down for the loss of 26 RAF
fighters. It actuality, only 35 Luftwaffe planes were shot
down, while the RAF had lost 29.
The Luftwaffe attacks Portsmouth,
Isle of Wight and all along Kent and Sussex coast. They also
attack forward RAF airfields and radar stations in preparation
for 'Eagle Day'. British claims are high as they report 62
Luftwaffe planes shot down against the RAF's 13, while in reality
it was just 26 Luftwaffe and 22 RAF planes lost. The Dortmund-Ems
canal blocked by low flying British bomber, the pilot is later
‘Eagle Day’, the first
day of the maximum offensive by the Luftwaffe to destroy RAF
airfields and gain air supremacy over England in preparation
of Operation Sea Lion. The Luftwaffe launches 1,485 sorties,
but because of confusion and delays, the main attacks were
not mounted until the afternoon. Some airfields were attacked,
but not the primary fighter bases. Luftwaffe losses were heavy
with 39 aircraft being lost (mainly Ju-87 Stuka's), while the
RAF lost just 15 aircraft. Twelve RAF Blenheim bombers attack
Hemsteds airfield in Holland. Only one plane returns.
Air activity less pronounced, but
Germans attack Southampton and Hastings; reported losses Germans
31, RAF 7.
Although 'Eagle Day' was the 13th
August, due to poor results, Goering decides that the 15th
August with instead be known as 'Eagle Day'. The Luftwaffe
launches its greatest attacks so far against the RAF's airfields,
involving more than 1,000 German planes and 1,786 sorties.
The Luftwaffe lost 76 aircraft, although these were mainly
from Luftflotte 5 which made diversionary attacks from Norway,
while the RAF lost 35 fighters and its airfields suffered heavy
damage. Twenty German JU88 aircraft from Denmark attack Driffield,
Yorkshire, destroying ten Whitley aircraft on the ground.
The Luftwaffe again raid southern
Further heavy raids by Luftwaffe on
southeast England and southern London. Major damage is done
to RAF airfields and fighter commands control system. British
claim 144 Germans shot down, later revised to 67 with RAF losses
of 33 planes lost but eight pilots safe.
Bad weather and a reorganisation of
fighter strength by the Luftwaffe causes a lull in operations.
Churchill reviews the progress of
air war in Commons and says ‘Never in the field of human
conflict, was so much owed by so many, to so few’. The
Luftwaffe withdraws the Ju-87 Stuka dive bomber from strategic
operations against England after losing 20 per cent of their
Stuka force to the RAF.
The Luftwaffe begins a new phase in
its offensive by sending over a higher proportion of fighters
to bombers, in an effort to keep losses down. The unofficial
start of the Blitz on London begins with a lost formation of
German bombers mistakenly dropping their bombs over the capital,
damaging St. Giles and Cripplegate.
Luftwaffe attacks continue against
the RAF's airfields in southeast England. The first night-attack
by RAF on Berlins industrial targets is made by 43 aircraft
from RAF Bomber Command in retaliation for the accidental attack
on London the night before.
The Irish government protests to Berlin
over bombs dropped in County Wexford, which killed three girls.
London is attacked by the Luftwaffe for six hours.
Raids continue on London, Midlands,
Southwest England and Wales.
Germany apologises to Eire for Wexford
bombing. Intense dogfights over London and Home Counties. Britain
refuses German proposal to use 64 Red Cross ships to rescue
airmen from the English Channel.
British claim 293 German
aircraft shot down in the past week for loss of 113 British
Air attacks continue on
Hitler threatens that British cities
will be bombed night after night in reprisal for the bombing
An irate Hitler orders a new offensive
by the Luftwaffe against Britain with no regard for the civilian
population. London is set as the primary target, after the
RAF makes several night raids on Berlin, causing many civilian
casualties. Air raids continue over Southeast England with
a hospital in Kent being hit, killing 23 patients and two nurses.
August civilian casualty figures announced at 1,075 killed
and 1.261 seriously injured.
The Luftwaffe bring to a close the
third phase of their air offensive, having lost 308 aircraft
in the last 2 weeks. However, the RAF have suffered 273 fighter
losses and suffered extensive damage to their airfields and
ground control systems. The official start of the London Blitz
is initiated by the Germans, as they intentionally bomb the
Eastern and Southern England Commands
are on full invasion alert, when at 16.56 London's air-raid
sirens announce the arrival of 375 German bombers and supporting
fighters. They come up the Thames to London from the sea and
set the London docks ablaze. The day-light raiders are gone
by 18.00, but the fires are still burning when the night raiders
arrive to inflict more damage at 20.10 during which 306 are
killed and 1,337 seriously injured. The British make extravagant
claims that 347 German aircraft have been lost in past week
against just 128 British.
RAF Bomber Command attacks concentrate
on disrupting the German invasion effort. The Luftwaffe attacks
London between dusk-to-dawn. 20 people are killed as an aerial
torpedo hits an East End block of flats. Total casualties are
estimated at 286 killed and 1,400 seriously injured.
350 German planes attack London causing
fires near St. Paul’s and the Guildhall; heavy casualties
in bombed East End school housing homeless Blitz victims.
Another heavy night attack (10/11)
on London, 18 killed; Buckingham Palace damaged.
Afternoon attacks on London: 110 killed
and 260 injured; Dover suffers worst attack of war.
Co-ordination of searchlights and
AA guns improves protection of London from air attack. Germans
claim that RAF are dropping Colorado beetles over German potato
Buckingham Palace again bombed; Royal
The climax of the Luftwaffe's daylight
raids against the London docks is reached with the Luftwaffe's
biggest raid on London so far. The British originally claim
185 Germans aircraft shot down, but later revise this to 56
German and 26 RAF planes lost.
Piccadilly, Park Lane, Bond St are
hit in night raids.
Churchill announces in the Commons
that in first half of September 2,000 civilians have been killed
and 8,000 seriously injured in air raids; the figure for service
casualties, for the same period was 250.
Heavy night raids continue on London;
Brighton also suffers badly. RAF continues attacks on invasion
fleet in French and Belgian Channel ports.
129 RAF bombers attack industrial
targets in Berlin this night, but are mostly ineffectual.
18th successive night raid on London.
Southampton and Brighton also attacked.
Heavy daytime attacks on Britain.
British claim 133 German planes shot down, later revised to
52, with the RAF losing 28.
26th night attack in succession on
The Luftwaffe launches its last major
daylight raid against England, with the main targets being
London and the Westland aircraft factory in Yeovil. The Luftwaffe
loses 43 aircraft to the RAF's 16 and are now fully convinced
that they must switch to night attacks to avoid crippling losses.
British civilian casualties for the month September announced:
6,954 dead, 10,615 injured.
gifts received for aircraft purchases now total £6,098,826.
Churchill makes statement to Commons
claiming that bombing casualties are falling. The RAF attacks
The Luftwaffe raids Scarborough in
North Yorkshire, during which two Parachute Mines are dropped.
Night raids on London continue.
Bomb holes roof of Balham tube station:
The RAF continue its attacks on Berlin.
London has longest air raid to date
as a Catholic orphanage is among the buildings hit. British
claim 41 German planes shot down in the past week against 21
British. The total German losses over Britain since the war
began are put at a staggering 2,762 against Britain’s
RAF bomb Berlin for 25th time.
RAF Bomber Command is given its first
directive sanctioning area-bombing.
The Battle of Britain is now considered
as over by the British Air Ministry. RAF bomb Naples for the
first time. British civilian casualty figures announced for
October: 6,334 killed and 8,695 seriously injured.
The Royal Air Force attacks
the Krupp munition works in Essen.
RAF bomb Munich shortly after Hitler
Italian aircraft attack Thames Estuary
with little success: first and last Italian air attack on Britain.
The Luftwaffe launches 449 bombers
in a heavy night attack against the major manufacturing city
of Coventry, dropping around 400 tons of bombs causing severe
damage to industrial and civilian installations. The city centre
is badly damaged, with 21 factories being destroyed and the
cathedral wrecked but for its spire. The raid kills or injures
1,419 people and makes thousands homeless. A new word is created
in both the English and German languages, 'Coventrate' and
'Coventrieren', meaning the physical and psychological destruction
of a city.
67 RAF Wellington, Whitley, and Hampden bombers attack Hamburg,
doing extensive damage to the city and shipyards, with no loss
131 RAF Bomber Command aircraft make
raids on four Hamburg targets.
The Luftwaffe launches a major raid
against Birmingham, inflicting heavy damage in places.
Southampton is hit badly by the Luftwaffe.
The Luftwaffe bomb Bristol.
British civilian casualty figures
for November: 4,588 killed, 6,202 injured.
Sheffield is heavily bombed
by the Luftwaffe.
134 RAF bombers attack Mannheim in
revenge for German attacks against British cities. This is
the RAF's largest attack on a single target thus far in the
war. 115 German civilian's were killed or injured and 1,266
made homeless. It is also the first reprisal raid, approved
by the War Cabinet, for German attacks on British towns.
Fifty British Bomber Command Whitley
and Hampden bombers attack German seaplane bases on Sylt.
The Luftwaffe continues its attacks
against British cities, this time hitting Liverpool.
The RAF attacks Berlin, inflicting
only minor damage.
The Luftwaffe launches a major incendiary
raid against London, destroying or badly damaging a number
of historic buildings.
British civilian casualties figures
for the month: 3,793 killed, 5,244 injured.